10.18 – The goal of spiritual knowledge is not just discovery but also recovery

by September 25, 2012

Some of us may get the doubt: “Science is exciting because therein we constantly discover new things. In spirituality, all the knowledge is already given in the scriptures, so there’s nothing new to discover. Won’t this make spiritual knowledge boring?”

No, because the aim of knowledge in the two domains is different. In science, the purpose of knowledge is to acquire new information about things: what they are and how they work. As information doesn’t live or love, its potential to excite us rests primarily in its novelty. Once we discover that information, say, a new equation, its newness and its charm ends; thereafter, its value remains only in its functional utility.

In contrast, the purpose of spiritual knowledge is to revive our relationship with Krishna, the forgotten lord of our heart. As Krishna is a living and loving person, knowledge about him is exciting not just because of its novelty, but also because of the reciprocity of the object of that knowledge. We may get an inkling of this excitement in the thrill we feel on meeting a forgotten childhood friend who still remembers us and is delighted to meet us.

This analysis is not to deny the fact that we do discover a lot of new information in the scriptures. But the essential gift of the scriptures is to help us not in discovering new information, but in recovering an old map that shows the way to a long lost treasure. In spirituality the map is about our inner landscape and the treasure is the ultimate wealth hidden in our heart: Krishna and our love for him.

To the extent we use scriptural knowledge for reviving our relationship with Krishna, to that extent it will remain forever exciting, as the Gita (10.18) confirms.


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